Hello my fellow horror fiends. I was recently treated to a viewing of the film DESOLATION directed by Sam Patton and written by Matt Anderson and Michael Larson-Kangas. For a better understanding of the film, let’s turn the plot description over to the pros at IMDB:
“A mother takes her son and her best friend on a trip into the remote wilderness to scatter his father’s ashes; they must confront their fears when a lone hiker begins following them.”
Taking into consideration the fact I’ve grown up in Northern California, it’s easy to say I’ve partaken in my fair share of hikes and camping trips. With that said, DESOLATION was a film that hit pretty close to home for me in the sense of creepiness.
It’s a rare occurrence for me to delve into a film and actually root for the core characters, especially in our genre. I think what did it for me is the fact that there is only four actors throughout the entire film so they had to really bust their asses and drive emotions into their roles. Particularly Toby Nichols, who plays 13 year old Sam who is internally torn about the passing of his father, and Jaimi Page who plays Abby, Sam’s mother, as they were the primary focus of the film. Sam’s relationship with his mother Abby is in a damaged state because of her undermining Sam’s intelligence and treating him like a child despite his level of maturity.
As the film rolled on I really appreciated the growth between both Abby and Sam as they had to work together and take care of each other as they tried to escaped the creepy Hiker played by Claude Duhamel. The hiker was an excellent villain because he moved in stealth while remaining seen at times when trying to be a total creep to the mother and son. He wore these round orange lensed sunglasses day and night, with the light of the campfire reflecting in his glasses night after night as he stared after the hikers. It seriously gave me the chills. Not to mention the fact that you really don’t understand what his motive is. Before the movie takes a gnarly turn, you learn that the mom is leaving items relevant to Sam’s father as a geocaching type deal. This allows the hiker to follow close behind while collecting all the items that Abbi was leaving.
There are definitely deaths in this film, one of which you see the aftermath of, but the payoff in the end is the best part. The total redemption you get to experience as Sam proves his worth against the Hiker. The only real flaw I found in this film was I felt that it was a bit rushed. I feel like I wanted to see the Hiker screw with his victims a bit more before making his moves.
With all this in mind, DESOLATION found itself a place in my heart. It maintained slasher like qualities while being fairly original. They also didn’t need the use of gratuitous gore and blood to get their point across. DESOLATION is definitely a film I’ll show my friends and come back to from time to time.